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Civic groups to hold anti-Japanese rallies on Liberation Day

Diplomacy 11:01 August 14, 2019

SEOUL, Aug. 14 (Yonhap) -- Local civil and labor groups plan to hold several anti-Japanese rallies in central Seoul on Thursday as the nation celebrates the 74th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

The protest rallies, timed for the Aug. 15 National Liberation Day, will be mostly intended to condemn the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for its export restrictions targeting South Korea, according to organizers Wednesday.

An alliance of about 10 South Korean civic groups devoted to the settlement of Japan's wartime forced labor said it will hold a rally in Seoul Square at 11 a.m. Thursday to demand the Abe government address the issue of compensating Korean victims of Japanese forced labor during World War II.

This file photo taken Aug. 10, 2019, shows an anti-Japanese candlelight vigil in central Seoul. (Yonhap)

Several forced labor victims will give their personal testimony at the rally, which its organizers say is expected to draw about 2,000 participants, who will also march towards the Japanese Embassy via Gwanghwamun Square, carrying the photos of deceased forced labor victims and a hundred banners with various anti-Abe and anti-Japan slogans.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), a militant labor group, plans to hold a national workers' rally at Gwanghwamun Square at 2 p.m. to reflect on the history of labor struggles since the 1945 liberation and call for the "liberation and freedom" of laborers.

The KCTU aims for the attendance of about 10,000 members in the Gwanghwamun rally and they plan to take part in a pro-unification civic event scheduled for 3 p.m. at the same location.

On Thursday evening, the central Seoul square will become the venue of a candlelight vigil jointly organized by about 750 civic groups to condemn the Abe government for its export curbs against South Korea and call for wider public participation in the ongoing anti-Japan boycott.

The civic groups previously held four anti-Japanese candlelight vigils in front of the former site of the Japanese Embassy in the Jongno district but decided to move the venue to Gwanghwamun Square to promote wider public participation.

Japan's government, which tightened exports of key materials to South Korea on July 4 in apparent retaliation for Supreme Court rulings on compensation for wartime forced labor, removed Seoul from a list of trusted export destinations early this month. The Tokyo government's moves have triggered a nationwide wave of anti-Japanese sentiment, including a boycott of Japanese products and travel.


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